No Votes on FCC’s Feb. 25 Meeting Agenda

Broadband-Network-Management Issues to Be Discussed at En Banc Hearing at Harvard Law School

The Federal Communications Commission did not issue an agenda for its upcoming Feb. 25 meeting beyond saying that it would be an en banc hearing at Harvard Law School, where broadband-network-management issues -- think open access and network neutrality -- will be discussed by a couple panels of experts.

This suggests that the agenda items FCC chairman Kevin Martin carefully outlined to reporters two weeks ago won't be on the agenda after all. They included a package of measures to help low-power stations make the transition to digital and/or continue to be seen even if they don't make that digital switch for a while. The chairman also said he wanted to approve the DirecTV-Liberty Media merger at the meeting.

That reporters’ briefing was part of Martin's effort to provide more information on upcoming items and meetings in the wake of criticism that he was not supplying enough of either. The meeting was initially scheduled for Feb. 26, then moved to Feb. 25, with some at the commission initially expecting items to be voted in addition to hosting the broadband panel.

But Martin also cautioned that the items could be pulled or voted on circulation before the meeting and that outlining them -- an unusual if not unprecedented move -- was in the interests of transparency. The DirecTV-Liberty merger and low-power package may yet be approved before that Feb. 25 date, or it could have hit snags and been pulled.

The National Association of Broadcasters, for example, weighed in Tuesday asking that if the FCC approves the DirecTV-Liberty deal, it must make sure that DirecTV promises to deliver all local TV stations via satellite before the end of the year.